Zone change application for property that was formerly the Movin' Sol Hostel
The Driggs P&Z passed on a recommendation to approve a zone change from neighborhood commercial (C-1) to central business district (CBD) for the lot on the southeast corner of Little Avenue and First South Street. The home on this lot, previously the Movin’ Sol Hostel, was built in the early 20th Century and holds historic significance. The applicant sought the rezone in order to increase their flexibility in business endeavors while ensuring they would not have to tear down the historic house. C-1 zoning requires 20-foot setbacks from any structures to the property line. In contrast, the CBD zone allows buildings to be built right at the lot line.
The property is the only corner lot of First Street and Little Avenue that is not in the CBD, and the city’s future land use map shows the preferred use of this property as CBD. Nevertheless, VARD is concerned with how the 0-ft setback allowed in the CBD will affect neighboring properties that are still in the C-1 zone. The P&Z shared VARD’s concerns about setbacks. As Rene Lusser, P&Z Commissioner, put it: consistent setbacks along a street ensure that all businesses are on equal footing in terms of visibility and attracting customers. The P&Z commissioners were concerned less about the uses allowed in the CBD, which include cafes, restaurants, and taverns.
VARD believes that the CBD is not an appropriate zone to be applied to the properties down Little Avenue, and hopes the city will show restraint in granting more CBD zone change requests to the east of First Street. It benefits business owners on Main Street and Little Avenue to maintain their distinctive designs and the setbacks required in the C-1 zone on Little Avenue serve to differentiate the two streets.
Although the P&Z unanimously approved the zone change request, they addressed VARD’s concerns by passing another motion that will prevent the applicant from building new structures until the city has a chance to take another look at the design review guidelines for the CBD. Presently, the CBD has different height limits for buildings in the CBD on First South Street, and the planning administrator recommended that the CBD also have larger setbacks for buildings in the CBD on Little Avenue.